TOPEKA — To date, 32 pharmacies and a dozen household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities have enrolled in the Kansas Medication Disposal Program. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), along with the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, launched the program on April 19 in an effort to ease the burden on Kansans looking to rid their homes of unused medications.
The Kansas Medication Disposal Program makes collection centers available for the disposal of uncontrolled medications generated by households, long-term care facilities and hospice care facilities. Participating pharmacies and HHW facilities can serve as collection centers for uncontrolled medications while law enforcement agencies can collect both uncontrolled and controlled medications in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act.
“With the level of participation thus far, we are seeing what we anticipated at the time we rolled out this disposal program. Pharmacies in our state are interested helping their communities safely and easily rid their homes of unwanted or expired medications. Our pharmacies and HHW facilities understand the health risk involved when these unused meds remain in the home, and we understand that more locations will be enrolling in the near future,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.
A map is available on the KDHE website showing the location of participating pharmacies and HHW facilities: http://maps.kdhe.state.ks.us/ksmeddisposal/
“We’re pleased with the interest in our disposal program and look forward to seeing additional pharmacies being added to the locator map as this interest grows. Already, we have Kansans taking in their uncontrolled medications to these neighborhood pharmacies; otherwise, those medications would still be in the home where the risk is there for improper use, intentional or not,” said Debra Billingsley, executive secretary for Kansas Board of Pharmacy.
In addition to removing the risk for accidental ingestion or abuse of the medications, disposing of expired or unused medications through this program can reduce the rate of medications being dumped down the drain, lessening the impact on the environment, to include wildlife and our public water supplies.
Without this program, there are limited proper disposal opportunities for uncontrolled medications in Kansas, said Bureau of Waste Management Director Bill Bider at the program’s roll-out in April.
“While disposal at a participating HHW facility is acceptable, there are few participating locations at the present time,” said Bider. “In addition, residents may dispose of unwanted pills in their routinely generated household trash, but unless the medications are mixed with other trash to render them unusable, they may still be recovered and misused.”
Since 2000, Kansas has seen an increase of 150 percent in the hospital discharge rate for unintentional drug poisoning. Between 2007 and 2009, Kansas children ages 5 years and younger had the highest emergency department visit rate (157.6 per 100,000, or 952 children total) for unintentional drug poisonings among all age groups (2,499 people).